When it comes to pleasing symmetry paired with sheer, aesthetic perfection, it is but the beauty of nature’s own divine haunting that reduces me to tears.
I am a highly visual person.
So when I discovered that David Rocco, the very essence of male model pulchritude, was headlining this year’s Eat! The Ultimate Food Show in Abbotsford, it took very little time for me to completely reprioritize my life.
Morning jog: Out the window!
Afternoon meet-up with friends: What friends?
Online ticket to see David Rocco in the flesh: Purchased.
Finest, not-at-all-that-slutty haberdashery: Outfitted
Thirty seconds later there I was, 200 kilometres from home and face-to-face with Abbotsford’s very own TradeEx monolith, as much an architectural feat as a subconscious nod to the super-sized Big Mac.
I wandered into the bun of wonder.
A list of the day’s events hanging sloppily from a crooked reader board said that David Rocco was scheduled to appear on the main stage at 3:45pm. This gave me plenty of time to enjoy our very own Fraser Valley’s summer/fall harvest, and I wondered if perhaps I might discover a few earthy, epicurean surprises during my trade show travels, from booth to booth, around the perimeter of the Abbotsford TradeEx.
I did not.
Neither fresh fruit nor garden vegetable from any of the surrounding farmlands made an appearance at this ultimate food show. Instead, I was left to eek out some sort of sustenance from a variety of horrendously picked-over crackers and variations upon balsamic dip.
Sinking into acute, trade show depression, I gave up on my search for anything fit to “Eat!,” took my seat at the Celebrity Stage, and stared, despondently, into a two-all-beef-patties abyss, while the sound of my own stomach rumblings prevented me from slipping into a self-preservational coma. And that’s when I noticed that David Rocco’s new cookbook, David Rocco’s Dolce Vita, was on sale for 30 bucks! (15 dollars less than retail). Added bonus: David Rocco would be available for book signings after his show. Jackpot! I knew there’d be a silver lining at the semi-ultimate, sort of disappointing food show.
I went over to the David Rocco kiosk, bought a cookbook, and was handed and a small rectangular piece of paper. If I wanted David Rocco’s autograph, I needed to write my name on the paper and wait in line after his presentation. “It’s so David won’t misspell any names. And it’ll keep the line moving,” said the attendant, with all the compassion of a brick.
“Otay,” I replied, tucking my little white participation paper into my brand new David Rocco cookbook, and reprising my seat like a good little sheeple.
Finally, David Rocco appeared on stage. It was 3:30pm, I was starving, and my biorhythms had long since crashed. Any and all thoughts on bravely volunteering to assist David Rocco were dashed as I fought to stay focused. His choice of dinner preparations did nothing to bolster my enthusiasm. “Risotto Puttanesca,” he said with a wry smile as he translated the dish into English. “Hee hee, whore risotto” tittered a heavily female-weighted audience.
The show wrapped and it was time to line up for autographs. I felt like hell, and struggled to quell every innate desire to run to the front of the line, get my autograph, jog the quarter mile back to where I’d parked my car, and hightail it to Abbotsford’s finest mid-tier food hub. Instead I waited politely, self respect intact, while a pack of cougars clawed their way around my feet and over my shoulders.
It dawned on me, as I was being shredded alive, that I didn’t want my first and last moment with David Rocco to register like every other mind-numbing book signing gig he’d experienced inside a strangely hamburger-like arena 200 kilometres outside of a world-class city, so I scampered over to the David Rocco cookbook vending desk, grabbed a pen, and I wrote:
“TO KARIN REGO – my beautiful and devoted fan!”
Ten minutes later I was standing in front of David Rocco – legs like spaghetti, brain fully evacuated.
“I embellished my card a little bit,” I said weakly as I handed my book, and my paper, over to David Rocco.
He read my message, and then looked up with a smile that could blind an arctic nomad. Magnum!
“Do you mind if I have a little fun with this?” David Rocco enquired.
“Not at all,” I fawned grotesquely.
He began writing and I took the opportunity to try to indulge in a little quintessential, Karin Rego banter:
“A friend of mine has a travel show and when he asked me if he should include Rome in one of his episodes, I said ‘you need to watch David Rocco’s La Dolce Vita.’”
(Now, in my mind, this remark had all kinds of context. As such, it made perfect sense to me, although I thought I heard David Rocco’s bodyguard – a stern and burly woman with a suicide blonde crewcut and a snaky black tat down one arm – muttering under her breath, “another kook.”)
“Oh yeah, what’s his name?” asked David Rocco.
And that’s where I lost it. David Rocco and I were having… a conversation, and I choked. I totally choked and I forgot my friend’s name. “Ummm…it’s…” I rambled, like the pathetic uber-couger-fan that I had become.
David Rocco closed my cookbook, handed it back to me, and bade me a fond farewell. I’d blown it – damn it Karin!!
Gathering my wares I hobbled away. I needed to sit down and pull myself together for whore sakes.
At a table far, far from the David Rocco experience I collapsed into a wretched, wooden folding chair, and I opened my David Rocco cookbook. Inside he’d written:
Thanks for dinner. It was great!
Next time at our home.